Should I get two more?


5 Years
Apr 28, 2014
Eau Claire, Michigan
Okay, I have a ramshackle 4x4 chicken coop right now and 2 chickens. Since one of mine started laying and I am anxiously awaiting the other one to lay, I thought I might want to add 2 more chickens. According to my husband, he wants a rainbow basket, so we're waiting to see what color my other easter egger will pop out as her first egg. I was told they could be blue or green or even pinkish, so until she starts laying, I'm going to wait to get any other birds. My only laying girl lays a greenish-blue egg, so we're hoping the other easter egger will lay a different shade at least - or hope beyond hope- a pinkish egg *crosses fingers*. We just enjoyed the 5 eggs I've collected from my laying girl and my husband is all for getting a few more as I think he could eat them every day. OMG-delicious! but that is another thread.

In preparation for the inevitable additions, I am thinking black copper maran, welsummer or whatever other chicken lays a dark brown egg, an olive egger if I can find one, and if not, maybe a true ameraucana or auracana (sp?) for something bright blue/turquoise. Since joining BYC I have found out the difference between my sweet mutt easter eggers and those two blue egg laying breeds. I wish I could find a pink egg layer, but I'll take what I can get :) I know I will probably have to go to a hatchery unless someone on this forum near me has some. Of course, I only am looking to add 2 birds, so a lot of the mail order places won't even take my order, so I will have to look locally.

I was wondering if the breeds I mentioned above good together? Will 4 of them fit in a 4x4 coop? I let my current 2 out into the yard to forage during the day so they really only go inside to lay and sleep or in inclement weather. I would introduce them at night when my current two are doddering off to sleep and it's dark.

Another question, is taking care of 4 any harder than having the 2 I already have? I am thinking I'll have to scoop the coop poop more often, but I do that every other day as it is. Any other special considerations? The two girls I have right now are 21 going on 22 weeks now. I hope to be able to find some pullets in that range or a little older or younger, although I would be up to raising a couple of chicks inside again, as they were so much fun (a lot of worrying, but a lot of fun). Then I would wait until they were big enough to introduce to my two right now. If I were to get point of lay hens I would also separate them for a week or so to make sure they weren't sick.

Hope I didn't go overboard with all the questions. Strange how getting just 2 chickens makes you want to get more. Soon, I'll have to buy a new place to live just so I can keep more chickens
Some things to keep in mind: Integrating new birds into a small flock is often very difficult, chickens HATE newcomers. And the small coop will make it that much harder. The whole "pop them in at night and the older birds will never know" has never, ever worked for me. It might work ok in a large flock but not in a small one. In fact it's a pretty dangerous thing for the new birds, you have to be right there before they get off the roost in the morning because believe me, those older birds are smart enough to know when it gets light that there are strange new birds in the coop. It can go very badly for the new ones very quickly, I've had a bird scalped and nearly killed trying this in a flock of 8 at the time. To me it's not worth the risk.

A better and safer thing to do is fence off an area right next to the older birds where the new ones can live for a couple weeks but still be separated by the fence. This gives everybody time to get used to each other and settle down. They even work out some of their pecking order scuffles through the fence and everybody stays safe. Then you can start letting them out to roam the yard together and then try putting the new ones in the coop one night and see how it goes. There will still be some fighting but it should be less.

If you get older or point-of-lay birds, quarantine them for more then a week, two weeks at least, 30 days is best. Respiratory and other diseases are many and once you get some of these diseases in your flock it's a big headache that never goes away. That 30 days is a small price to pay if you can avoid introducing some nasty disease.

If you decide to raise chicks don't integrate until they are 10 to 12 weeks old. Mine go into a grow-out pen right next to the older girls at 5 weeks but they don't go out with the flock until 10-12 weeks. They need to be about the same size so they are better able to protect themselves.

Caring for 4 versus 2 isn't going to be any different other then more food in and more poop out.

Good luck and have fun with you enlarging flock! It can take some time but eventually everybody will get settled in.

Thanks for the advice. It's why I posted here first to get some good advice from people who've raised chickens. I'll keep in mind the quarantine period. I wasn't sure how exactly it worked to integrate any newcomers, but I'm reading more and more on it. When it happens, I'll keep them separated. I have plenty of chicken wire to build a fenced in area for the newcomers to go to in the daytime. I may try to get a couple more this year, but if not, maybe next year (I might have a new house with a few acres of land by then if all goes well, and the ability to build a bigger coop with separate areas). I'll keep your suggestions in mind when we do get some more, because I am pretty sure it will happen, not sure when, but it will.
It would be best to get a larger coop before adding more chickens.

Here's some notes I've taken on integration that I found to be very helpful.
See if any of them, or the links provided, might offer some tips that will assist you in your situation:

Integration of new chickens to flock.

Consider medical quarantine.

Confine new birds within sight but physically segregated from older/existing birds for several weeks, so they can see and get used to each other but not physically interact. Integrating new birds of equal size works best.

The more space, the better. Birds will peck to establish dominance, the pecked bird needs space to get away. As long as there's no blood drawn and/or new bird is not trapped/pinned down, let them work it out. Every time you interfere or remove new birds, they'll have to start the pecking order thing all over again.

Multiple feed/water stations. Dominance issues are most often carried out over sustenance, more stations lessens the frequency of that issue.

Places to hide out of line of sight and/or up and away from bully birds.

Read up on integration..... BYC advanced search>titles only>integration
This is good place to start reading:
Hello, I'll just put this out there after reading a couple of your threads, I'm also in sw mi, cassopolis actually. New to chickens this year, oldest are 8 wks. A scrap built 4x4x4 coop... Plan on building a much larger coop next year and getting more from a hatchery next year after min numbers go down and we get coop done. Could add a couple extras on if you don't find the breeds your looking for by then.

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